Being aware of your surroundings is a priceless character trait to have and something you can help your Little’s do with this simple daily log.
Here I’ll share a FREE Printable I’ve made as well as 5 Tips I’ve learned along the way when trying to engage a daily dialogue with my child.
For my family and I we decided to homeschool for kindergarten because it worked for our military lifestyle at the moment. One big thing I noticed when we began that journey was that my son wasn’t really aware anymore of what day of the week it was or time of the day. He used to be able to judge the ‘end’ of the day by pickup at school but now he was asking me maybe 5/8 times a day if it was almost “the end of the day”.
When I designed this daily log it was simply because I couldn’t find anything I liked online. Everything seemed a bit outdated and used some fonts that are on my pet-peeve list, like comic-sans. With that being said, I browsed Pinterest and took ideas I liked to create what I have here. I wanted something I could use on a daily basis to help him learn what day of the week it was, work on numbers in a true-life form, learn how to tell time, express his emotions and give me a daily form I could document his progress on for homeschool. Check, check…and check.
Now, I’m not a teacher- at all. My area of expertise is in design and media but I do research a lot, read a lot, ask questions, seek answers and on this topic here is what I discovered and why we decided to add a Daily Log to our routine…
Keep in mind that I’m giving you my opinion on what I’m currently dealing with in my life. I blog for the documentation purpose it serves but enjoy the possible reachability of a post. Please don’t bash my parenting styles, advice or basically anything…I’m only sharing for those who care to read. If that’s not you, save the energy for those who need the advice, please.
I found during the first week of doing this daily log activity that there’s a formula to it for my son. There’s a perfect time of the day, special part of the routine, a little bit of fairy dust and some good old-fashioned logic behind getting him to cooperate when it comes to homework or any type of activity that wasn’t his choice. So here I’ve thrown together a list of key tips I didn’t want to forget…
Setting your kids up for success with a daily observation activity.
1) Let your child get first pick.
Almost every single blog I’ve read says “begin with the hardest part first” and I have to tell you guys- that doesn’t work for us!
We start off with the ‘easy/fun’ stuff and here’s why: My son gets discouraged really easily and as his teacher and mom, I get discouraged seeing him discouraged!
Since we are just starting off, I’ve opted for letting him fill out the parts of the log he likes first and then we backtrack together and finish off the parts he’s not really a fan of. This doesn’t apply to every assignment, this is just something I do to get his brain going in a positive path.
My strategy behind that is based on the fact that he won’t argue with me, as much. I provide him the freedom to explore his options and once he’s finished what he “can”, we give it a second go together, as a team.
I believe his confidence stems from the courage he builds doing it alone, only to be reassured when we complete it together and he know’s he has my full support and attention.
I’m sure some critics (haters) will say that I’m not preparing him for school by letting him hop around but I’m going to stand by what works for us because he’s 1) He’s in kindergarten. And 2)…He’s in kindergarten!
Right now our biggest challenges are the alphabet, sight words, not farting in public and remembering to put socks on before his shoes. I’ll worry about the order of his worksheet next year when he can read 30% of what’s on it. Right now I need to focus on small victories.
Willpower is a force to be reckoned with when you have a youngin’ that’s finding their voice so being fair, yet firm, go hand-in-hand. If he really wants something he will work extra hard at it and it’s my job to put the right options in front of him at the right moment so he can continue to grow.
2) Kids need routine.
Whether you educate at home or barely get through breakfast before rushing out to the car with the kids, it’s always good to establish a routine with them. It not only helps you keep your sanity but it has some really beneficial long term effects you can’t pass up.
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum when it comes to being organized vs. leaving the laundry for another day so I know what type of effort it takes to really stick to a routine. But I do believe that it’s worth the extra work to get into a routine because it not only prepares them for later in life but it also helps them asses the day and make their own judgement on what to expect next. (This could be a big help to you!)
Think along the lines of breakfast, lunch, dinner. They come in that order on a daily basis, yet you have the option to have breakfast for dinner if you really wanted to, right? The choice is there but we tend to go with the flow most of the time.
Although routine is the ultimate goal for every parent, know that it’s okay to stray away. It’s just equally important to have some balance and give them a good start to their day and the option to make it a good one.
We barely got into the routine of having him brush his teeth alone, get out of the bath alone, get dressed, etc and it is a huge help in the grand scheme of motherhood, not sure why I waited so long!
3) Get out and get fresh air.
I know- how hard it can be on this one, but do it! There is something about fresh air on your skin, the sun, wind, everything, that makes the stars align and the to-do list gets done….kinda. You know what I mean though?
Sometimes the ONLY fresh air I get is during the time we spend on the little “Weather” box but any excuse is a great excuse. I’d encourage you to take it an extra step and integrate it into your routine, weather permitting of course.
Basically, get out and let nature put you in a good mood so you can kick the day’s ass.
4) Character development is more important than academic development.
This one is big for me guys! I don’t care how smart your child is, if they are rude, perverted, or have a shitty attitude then I’m sorry….despite all the books you guys read together and countless hours of repetition, you fell a little short in a really important character development area that has nothing to do with books, academics or reading.
One of the reasons I added the “today I feel…” section is because it’s an important voice to help your child find. I didn’t start addressing how I felt until I was an adult because I wasn’t raised to talk about it openly.
I choose to use behavior issues as an opportunity to grow rather than treat it as a distraction or interruption and it works for us, most of the time. By asking my son how he’s feeling and asking him to document it I’m giving him an opportunity every day to tap into his own character.
Recently he’s been shifting between happy, sad and bored. All 3 I can thoroughly explain for him because it’s in line with what’s going on in our life and a perfect example.
- I just gave birth to his baby sister / HAPPY
- Our dog passed away recently / SAD
- We just moved to a new neighborhood and has “no friends” / BORED
By doing his daily logs with him I’ve been able to help him work through these emotions and open up an opportunity for dialog in situations where he’s expressing emotions that should be discussed. It’s been really helpful!
5) It’s okay to skip…
Sometimes the day shifts and we can get caught up- trying to catch up. It’s important to remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day and a fresh opportunity to ‘get it right’- so don’t beat yourself up!
One thing I’ve learned homeschooling my son is to pace myself. If you need to skip a section or just aren’t feeling it that day, don’t stress it.
If something isn’t working for us or one of us is having a bad day, we can make adjustments accordingly so it doesn’t turn into an awful day.
Basically…do what works for you!
Thank you for reading!…don’t forget to download below…
Have some advice you think could help me out? Drop a line in the comments for me…I appreciate it!
This post contains affiliate links to items I used and/or support. I receive a small fee when these links are clicked/purchased and only include products I actually use.
Alright guys, I think I’ve found a new ornament gifting tradition to add to Christmas! It’s super easy and you probably already have what you need.
Every year my son and I either buy or make Christmas ornaments for friends and family. It’s honestly an accidental tradition started when he was in pre-school. Since we are a military family we don’t always get to see family for the holiday’s so we sometimes spend it with friends that feel like family so I began gifting them ornaments for the holidays as a way for them to remember us. In exchange, we’ve received many ornaments as well over the years and I will admit, it brings back floods of memories when it’s time to decorate our tree. Sharing the stories with my son about each and every one is something special I look forward to.
So this year I decided to do something a little different that required some Pinterest searching and a budget of…$0. Yes, I am going the cheap route this year and there’s no shame in my home-made game.
I generally like to keep my crafts simple, with as little trips to the store as possible and this one was a win! All you really “need” is some flour and salt and the rest can be figured out along the way. To be honest, I didn’t want to spend ANY money this Christmas with our second baby due any day. So naturally- I jumped on Pinterest, typed in a few keywords and voila…a quick check in my pantry and we found ourselves a craft!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
WHAT WILL BE HELPFUL:
Rolling pin (or something to roll dough with)
Parchment Paper or Foil
Dowel (or something to poke a hole with)
Pam Spray Oil
HOW TO MAKE SALT DOUGH
Combine 1 cup of salt and 2 cups of flour in a mixing bowl
Slowly add 1 cup of water and mix
(Tip: I used my Ninja blender with the dough attachment to save my arms on all that work)
If you use a blender or mixer, your dough will first look like this…just make sure to knead it together with your hands after.
Knead dough until it is not sticky but will hold its shape, then keep covered until ready to create!
Take a handful of dough and roll it out about 1/4” thick
Use a cookie cutter or plastic knife to cut out your ornament shapes.
Using a small straw or wooden dowel/tooth pick, poke a hole at the top of your ornament dough where you will later pass a string through to hang.
(Preheat your oven to 200*)
Lightly spray your foil with Pam or use Parchment paper and place your ornaments on a baking sheet.
Bake at 200 for 2-4 hours or until your ornaments are rock hard and one solid color front/back.
Paint your ornaments with acrylic paint and let dry.
Coat your ornament with a layer of MOD PODGE glue to keep the paint from chipping.
Once your ornaments are completely dry you can use a string or ribbon to hang them or gift them to a friend.
MAKE A KEEPSAKE
This is the perfect opportunity to make any keepsakes you’ve been wanting to make! My chihuahua will be turning 13 next year and I have never made any type of keepsake for her so I thought, what better time than now? I went ahead and painted it her signature pale pink wrote the date and location on the back. The location is particularly important to me since our ornaments are pretty much a road map to where the Coast Guard has sent us over the years. This one is for sure my favorite!
If this sounds like something you’re gonna give a go- make sure to come back and share how it went with me. I’d love to know if you have any suggestions to the recipe that might make it easier. (Even though it’s already easy)
Thanks for reading 🙂
Thinking of throwing a Pirate themed party? I have some ideas and tips for you!
With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d dig through my archive and share some funPirate Party/Halloween Ideas that I tried out for my son’s 4th birthday party.
I will admit, we kinda went a bit overboard for turning 4, but in my defense, it was transfer season [we are a traveling military family] so instead of a traditional ‘going-away party’, I linked up with his best buddy’s mom and we threw them both a Pirate Birthday Party they will never forget.
My mission for this party was to make it fun, crafty, memorable and cheap- of course.
My phobia of throwing things away lingered so I did my research, played extreme couponer and raided any dollar-bin and clearance section I could find until I was loaded on more crap than I knew what to do with.
Here’s some simple tips to get you going…
// 5 SIMPLE TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
1. SAVE EVERYTHING
Some of you know this as….hoarding. I call it collecting for purpose. Anyway- when it comes time for those random things you WISH you had saved so you didn’t have to repurchase or overspend…guess who’s in luck? Me 🙂
You can always add your leftover decorations into your stock-pile but it’s a good idea to always keep your receipts for those instant buyer’s-remorse purchases or items you just won’t ever need.
2. USE EVERNOTE TO STAY ORGANIZED
I usually opt for Evernote because you can sync it to your phone, web and computers so it makes my life a lot simpler.
I still have post-it notes and lists in my notebook because I’m a physical-creative and need to tangibly sift through my thoughts but it does help to organize it all when you can break it into bullet points and check off as you go. If you’re confused, don’t worry, I’ve included a screen shot of one of the notes I used to plan this pirate party.
To give you an idea, here are the various ways you can use Evernote to plan your party. Start by creating a note or notebook for the following titles:
- RECEIPTS. I’m sure you can guess what that one’s for…and having the app on your phone is key with this because you can take a photo right after your purchase so you never have to stress about it.
- TO-DO/TO PURCHASE. This is great because your active list of items you need to purchase or tasks you need to complete constantly shifts for busy parents. This makes it hassle free when you have a central list you can reference to when you’re at the store.
- CRAFTS & GAMES. Super important when doing your research because it isn’t realistic to do everything. Creating this list (pictured above) really helped me visualize every task that went into every project so I could decide ahead of time if it was worth the stress or not.
- FOOD & BEVERAGE. Again, pretty to the point. Sometimes when you’re shopping you think you might not have enough, so you grab extra, only to not need half of it. A common mom-practice. This can be avoided by creating this list and including what you paid for it, because food ain’t cheap and I like a visual reminder of what I spend.
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3. SET A REALISTIC BUDGET
I think we can all agree that shopping is a big chunk of planning for a party.
It’s important to make an actual paper-pen list (or use whatever app) so you can visualize, prioritize and negotiate with your want’s/needs before you find yourself in the center of a crisis at the craft store because you “want” things you really didn’t plan for.
I advise setting a budget because I’ve been there, many times…but that’s when you have to throw on your crafty-mom hat and engineer an idea out of what you can find. For me it always ends up being something I enjoy but if you’re not the crafty type then you might have to opt for some nice handmade’s on Etsy or ask favors from friends.
And by “realistic”- all I’m saying is to remind yourself at the end of the day that its a birthday party…you and your child will survive if you have to say no to some streamers in order to feed your guests. The best tool you can have in this scenario is the ability to rationalize. It makes the next party that much more fun to plan because you’ll have your spending in-check ahead of time.
4. PRE-PREP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
I didn’t give myself enough time to prep BEFORE guests arrived, thus, causing the well-known domino effect of things that just don’t work out like you planned.
If I have any real-life advice I’d simply tell you to plan with your time and not with your money. You can buy all the cutest little party favors that Etsy sells but if you don’t remember to bring them to the party and put them inside the party bags, they loose their purpose. So avoid that headache and prep as much as you can at home, it’ll save you in the long run.
5. DESIGNATE ACTIVITY AREAS
In my case we were limited to our options and held the party in a rectangular shaped room with a bunch of tables and chairs that happened to be an art studio.
Having an empty room made it easy for us to move around tables and dedicate areas to specific crafts and activities – essentially making clean up seem a bit easier because we were able to heard kids from one area to another with a new activity and my helpers assisted in “clean as you go”.
// PIRATE PARTY SUPPLIES
I did a lot of shopping at the Dollar stores and clearance rack since it was the end of the season but I was able to find a lot of items that were pirate-ish.
A few items you can keep an eye out for:
- black and red anything
- fake mustaches
- sea shells
- skull decorations and netting
- jewels, pearls and other costume jewelry and toys
- eye patches
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// SHIP OUT INVITATIONS
If you are the crafty type you can try out these diy-pirate-scroll invites I made. It did help that I’m a designer so I was able to deal with that part but you can always use templates, Word or even Google Docs to type and print your design. The rest is easy-peasy.
This was by far my favorite part of the planning because it’s a chance to basically create anything I want. For these invitations I shopped at Michaels Craft Store, kept it at a budget but ended up spending a bit more time with assembly than I anticipated because I made it up as I went and of course need to account for the dozen’s I basically hacked and tossed in the trial series.
Each invitation was crafted with more love than my chubby glue-gun-burned fingers could handle, I can tell you that much.
(Soon) You can see how I created these DIY Scroll Invitations here (link coming).
My method behind creating DIY projects is to remember that these are tips and guidelines. There is no recipe to follow so create as you go and use the tools that you have (or don’t).
Supplies for Scroll Invitations
- gold paint
- red and white twine
- Popsicle sticks
- stained paper (plain paper will do just fine)
- glue gun
// CREATE A PARTY FAVOR CRAFT
One of the things I did a bit different with this party was to create a party favor bag for our friends that wasn’t a traditional “give out at the end of the party” loot-bag.
The difference with this bag is that it held an activity inside along with a few other fun items like an eye-patch, toy telescope and a headband.
The idea behind putting the activity inside of the favor bag was two sided because we needed an activity to do at the party but we also couldn’t spend a lot because we had about 30 kids to prepare for. We wanted to send them home with a favor bag so we killed two birds with one stone.
By having tables set up with baskets of markers, jewels, etc, your guests can decorate a one of a kind craft they made at your event and get to take home with them. This can work with pretty much any craft or activity!
It also served as a great welcoming gift and introduction into making sure I said hello to everyone.
We went with jumbo paper lunch sacks and cut slits at the top to weave in themed ribbon I found on sale. I had found some halloween labels and made sure to leave out sharpie markers so everyone had their name on their bag.
I’m sure there are ton’s of brands and producers but I wen’t with Oriental-Trading and ordered their Papier-Mâché Mini Treasure Chests dozen packs.
I didn’t use any handmade props but do want to give a shout out to A Joyful Bow on Etsy- a fellow Coast Guard Wife and obviously brilliant crafter. If I had known her then, I would have opted for her handmade Pirate Set.
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// GATHER ITEMS FOR A BURIED TREASURE HUNT
You would be surprised how simple this activity is to throw together! I scored on these paper skull treat bags and turned them into a treasure satchel to collect buried treasure and take home.
Supplies I used in my buried treasure:
- large open-mouth bucket
- sand (or pavers sand if you can’t find the real stuff!)
- sea shells
- costume jewels
- fake diamonds
// SET UP A TATTOO PARLOR ON-BOARD
There are tons of ways to do this one. Here’s my rendition…
I literally painted over an old (ugly) painting from a drunken paint night and made the background to look like my version of a run-down ship parlor where all I had to do was let it dry and use double sided tape to stick on the tattoo’s.
[A little tip: You can use chalk on dry acrylic paint to write out text or draw and then paint over]
Best advice, keep it simple.
// USE PHOTO PROPS TO SET THE SCENE
This one here was a stretch but we got it done in time. A friend was able to cut and assemble for us so all I had to do was draw the design out and paint it.
Here you can see the primer stage, draft and final…
// ARRRR! THE SNACK BARRRR
The food is always a hover-point for many at a party so it’s important to give your guests options. Its not required but be mindful of who you invite and any food allergies they may have. You don’t want to have the party go down hill fast for no reason!
Sit back, grab a snack…or a drink.
Shout out your favorite pirate party idea’s in the comments below! 🙂
This year for my birthday I was down in Los Angeles so I decided to take the day off and head to Legoland for a on-on-one with my son. He had been talking about going to Legoland for a solid year or so and it seemed like the perfect way for us to end our long summer in So-Cal.
The best part was getting to document our day for my hubby since he is currently floating in the middle of the Pacific somewhere. He wasn’t here for a big chunk of the summer so it’s nice to be able to find ways for him to still enjoy it with us when he get’s back. I don’t see a reason why he has to miss out when he’s the reason we even get to do fun things like theme parks.
This was the best birthday I’ve had in a really long time and I look forward to going back for round 2 at Legoland when daddy gets back! We promised #SYGUY we would get to stay at Legoland Hotel next time.
With the twists and turns of every single life event I have been through, I’ve decided to share the bits and pieces of my story I tend to hold onto. And to be real, the only way you can look ahead in your personal life is to pull inspiration from your past. Painful or not, it’s your story. This is my attempt.
So I’m writing shit down. Taking photos. Shooting new Episodes of #SYGuyTV with my little dude and I’m saving every single memory I possibly can.
If you didn’t know, my amazingly selfless husband is about to spend half of the year in the belly of the USCG STRATTON. A (huge) ship in the Coast Guard, compared to what we’ve been used to in the past. No wifi, no hugs and kisses, and it breaks my heart as well as stresses me out. So this can also be his memory box. And I hope to fill it with nothing but that…amazing, funny, real, raw memories.
If you’ve even read this far, I encourage you to return. I’m not saying I’ll offer any life changing advice…but I’ll be honest, hopefully entertaining and real. Real about myself, my views, the world, and honestly realistic. Because we all need a dose of reality. Not the shit on E!, or your favorite Tiny-House show, but a connection between our shitty president, Trump, and people like me.
I keep getting side tracked – a side effect of pregnancy, I’m sure.
But here’s what I know…and it’s not much so bare with me. (we’re excited, ok) 🙂
I’m probably about 6 weeks along now and have my appointment this week. I’m currently still working at Starbucks and just dealing with the pregnancy side effects on a day by day basis.
I have never seen Sylas so excited for ANYTHING and it is making us even more excited. We are all hoping for a girl of course, and digging the boyish names. But we can’t agree on anything yet…as well as the fact that I want to wait till the birth to learn the gender. We’ll see how long that one lasts.
until next time…
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